American Society of Civil Engineers

Simple Single-Surface Failure Criterion for Concrete

by Sean D. Hinchberger, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Univ. of Western Ontario, London ON, Canada N6A 5B9. E-mail:

Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 135, No. 7, July 2009, pp. 729-732, (doi:

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Document type: Technical Note
Abstract: This technical note presents a new single-surface failure criterion for concrete that is derived using an approach developed for geologic materials. The main advantage of the proposed failure criterion is its simplicity and ease of implementation into nonlinear finite-element programs compared to existing criteria based on tension and compression meridians and a third function defining the deviatoric trace between meridians. The new failure criterion is able to closely describe concrete strength under general three-dimensional stress states and it gives improved predictions of concrete strength under plane stress conditions compared to existing single function models. A method for deriving the strength parameters is presented so that practitioners may consider adapting the function for materials such as high-strength or steel fiber-reinforced concrete. The work summarized herein is considered novel practical information that should be of use to practitioners wanting to implement simple phenomenological models for concrete in their finite element codes.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Material properties
Compressive strength
Tensile strength
Biaxial stress